Two Ways to Belong in America by Bharati Mukherjee is a narrative of two sisters who are from Calcutta, India in which one sister (Bharati) endures her status of being an American citizen and the other (Mira) faces the hardships of being an immigrant American. In Mother Tongue by Amy Tan who is a second-generation immigrant from China, Tan talks about the variety of Englishes that she was raised upon and draws a connection between langauage and cultures. In both excerpts the narrator’s share the same fate of being immigrants who have faced challenges with their own cultural barriers.
The first hardship that Mira had faced with her legalization status while in America was the fact that she wasn’t an american citizen but always an immigrant American. Mira and her husband had acquired the labor certifications necessary for the green card of hassle-free residence and employment. back in 1962 but that didnt grant her with the title of now being an American Citizen. The green card just gave them the permission to live and work in America for a set time. Mira shouldve saw that getting her green card acted as a temporary invatation to stay here in America and shouldve worked towards finding out how to become an American citizen.
The second hardship that Mira had faced while being in America was the fact that she felt used. She felt used because of all the hard work and dedication that she had contributed to the american society; and for america to now change its rules regarding legal immigarants came as a stab in the back to her. For over 30 years, I’ve invested my creativity and professional skills into the improvement of this country’s preschool system. I’ve obeyed all the rules, I’ve paid my taxes, I love my work, I love my students, I love the friends I’ve made. How dare America now change its rules in midstream? If America wants to make new rules curtailing benefits of legal immigrants, they should apply only to immigrants who arrive after those rules are already in place.” Mira then had came up with a solution to the issue regarding her non-american status which was to become a U.S. citizen and then convert back to her Indian roots when sher’s ready to go back home.
In the excerpt of Mother Tongue witten by Amy Tan, Tan discusses the challenges that she and her mother had faced with their englishes while living in America. The first challenge that Tanr’s mother had faced with her broken english was when Tan was 15 and she had to call her motherr’s stockbroker to figure out why her check hadnt come after two weeks on her small portfolio she had cashed out. She had cashed out her small portfolio and it just so happened we were going to go to New York the next week, our very first trip outside California. I had to get on the phone and say in an adolescent voice that was not very convincing, “This is Mrs. Tan.” And my mother was standing in the back whispering loudly, “Why he don’t send me check, already two weeks late. So mad he lie to me, losing me money. And then I said in perfect English, “Yes, I’m getting rather concerned.
You had agreed to send the check two weeks ago, but it hasn’t arrived.” Then she began to talk more loudly. “What he want, I come to New York tell him front of his boss, you cheating me?” And I was trying to calm her down, make her be quiet, while telling the stockbroker, “I can’t tolerate any more excuses. If I don’t receive the check immediately, I am going to have to speak to your manager when I’m in New York next week.” And sure enough, the following week there we were in front of this astonished stockbroker, and I was sitting there red-faced and quiet, and my mother, the real Mrs. Tan, was shouting at his boss in her impeccable broken English.
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